My first attempts to start the Today I Learned (TIL) journal began in 2019.
Learning something new and writing it down seemed easy enough to stick to daily. But I’d struggle for the next two years to do just that.
It wasn’t until 2021 that I could make it a sustainable habit, and my system in Notion was a big part of that.
I would create a journal that made the habit easy to keep, the entries organized, and everything easy to review.
This would be the TIL Journal I still use today. And I offer a free template in Notion for anyone to view, duplicate, and make their own. Here, I’ll quickly walk you through the features of that journal template.
In the “Today I Learned Page,” you have three tools at your disposal:
1. TIL Journal
2. The Library
3. The Notebook
This is where you’ll be recording what you learn.
I create at least one new entry every day. You’ll want to make them as short and comprehensive as possible to make reviewing them later easier for yourself.
Here’s an example of what one of my entries looks like:
I keep the question displayed, and the answer within the toggle. It’s more effective to review what I’ve learned later on when I have the option to use active recall rather than passively re-reading.
The options you’ll see at the top of each entry.
I’ll explain how filling each one in benefits you:
Title Line: Keep track of the your daily streak + the date of entry
Topic: Makes your entry more searchable within the table.
Date: Keeps your table organized chronologically
Find in Library: Adds your entry to “The Library” (more on that below)
Need to Review?: Adds your entry to a view dedicated for subjects you’d like to review later, called “Study View”
Last Reviewed: Keeps your entries in the Study View organized by the date they were last reviewed
Backed Up?: Lets you know which entries you’ve backed up outside Notion, if you choose to do so.
The different options for viewing your entries.
• ALL entries (Gallery and Table): Both of these show every entry you’ve entered into the journal (so long that they’re dated)
• 1 Month View: Shows only entries you’ve added within the last 30 days.
•📝Study View: Shows the entries you’ve checked in the “Need to Review” box. These are sorted by the date they were last reviewed, so be sure to refresh that “Last Reviewed” date in the entries when you study!
• Missing Date: to find entries missing a date.
• Double-Check Date: to check that the dates are entered correctly.
• To Back Up: Displays all the entries you haven’t yet checked as having been backed up
This is a linked database which will contain all your TIL Journal entries, organized into your custom genres.
When you click on a topic, you’ll see every entry you’ve written for that topic gathered there, organized chronologically.
No sifting through months’ worth of random entries. It’s all neatly stacked here, like an organized bookshelf.
You’ll see in the image below what shows up when I click on the topic “Dutch Vocabulary” in my own Library.
And if one entry belongs to multiple categories, that’s no problem! You can tag it with as many topics as you want, and it will show up in each page.
In the Notebook, you’ll find 3 pages:
• My Knowledge Gaps, where you can record what you’d like to learn and write about in your journal
• Quick Entry Ideas, where you can record topics you know you can learn fast and easily. This is handy if you’d like to make this journal a daily habit, and will need some quick learning options for days you don’t have much time to write.
• Study Notes, where you can take notes for things you’re not quite ready to add to an entry yet.
And now you’re ready to start your own TIL Journal!
What do you want to learn today, and remember tomorrow?